This Small East Texas Cottage’s Style Is Called ‘Deconstructed Southern Modern’ and It’s Stunning

published Oct 26, 2021

This Small East Texas Cottage’s Style Is Called ‘Deconstructed Southern Modern’ and It’s Stunning

published Oct 26, 2021
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Home Type
Square feet
Sq ft

Name: Samuel Melton (but friends call me Sam) 
Location: Milam, Texas
Size: 1000 square feet
Years lived in: 4 years, owned

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Sam’s small cottage, which is nestled among the East Texas national forest, is a multi-generational house full of family history that starts at the front door: When you walk in you’re greeted with a picture of Belva and Arvid, his great-grandparents and the original owners of the house. The home was built for his great-grandparents in the 1960s, and Sam inherited it before it was torn down, hoping to save what was left. His renovation of the modest space brought it back to basics — like board walls and concrete floors — before working to build it up with his own decor personality. The result is a space that feels traveled and collected.

Credit: Minette Hand

Also important to Sam is for the home to have the ability to evolve as his design does. As a seller of vintage furniture (his brick and mortar store is located at 205 Worth Street in Hemphill, Texas), he has filled his home with pieces that he finds special or that remind him of his story. This obviously includes vintage wares, as well as nods to his family’s history, but also to contemporary designs, too: You’ll see handmade tiles from local maker Erica Williams (of Thro Ceramics) covering the entry and leading visitors into his home. Though his cottage is a bit on the cozier side at 1000 square feet, Sam says you can cheat a small floor plan with thoughtful design planning, as well as create a comfortable home by designing with your own story in mind.

Credit: Minette Hand

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Deconstructed Southern modern 

Inspiration: My inspiration is taken from folk art and well-worn finds from my journeys, from an empty prairie house to books on makers and designers. 

Credit: Minette Hand

Favorite Element: My favorite element in my home is the taken-back materials from wood slatted walls to the painted concrete floors. The home is taken to the builder grade and gussied up with paint. 

Biggest Challenge: The biggest challenge for my home is the small size and finding a way to make it feel wider. I also need it to be multi-use friendly. My budget was very small. I was careful to make smart choices such as choosing furniture that won’t age quickly and pieces that can evolve with me. 

Credit: Minette Hand

Proudest DIY: My favorite DIY was the plumbing pipe curtains in the sunroom/dining space. They’re made from pipes and connectors.

Biggest Indulgence: I believe a space can always be upgraded with good furnishings. I believe in vintage and new items. I bought an antique German leather chair for $300 and upholstered the seat in a Navajo blanket; all together is cost $700. 

Credit: Minette Hand

Is there something unique about your home or the way you use it? The space is small enough that the fireplace is part of the kitchen and living space. And light fills the space with all the original windows. 

What are your favorite products you have bought for your home? Favorite pieces I bought would have to be the lights in the kitchen and sunroom. The lights are all handmade in Houston. They are from Long Made Co. The design is the lacquered brass in minimalist style. They make the space feel collected and upgraded. 

Credit: Minette Hand

Please describe any helpful, inspiring, brilliant, or just plain useful small space maximizing and/or organizing tips you have: When in a small space remember to try to float your furniture if you can. It helps to make the space feel larger. Also, don’t be afraid of larger pieces of furniture. If all your pieces are lower in profile, it’ll make sense in your space. Small furniture can make the space a bit disjointed sometimes.

Finally, what’s your absolute best home secret or decorating advice? When figuring out what you like simply go to your closet. Your clothes can tell you about the color and textures you like. You know your style because you simply wear it. Don’t be afraid to do your own thing. That’s what makes a home personal and collected. 


Credit: Minette Hand


  • Floors — Handmade tiles from Thro Ceramics
  • Brass frame (with original owners’ picture) — West Elm 
  • Moroccan basket for shoes
Credit: Minette Hand


  • Wall sconce — Pottery Barn – (No Longer Available) Leighton Adjustable 
  • Leather arm chair — Antique German with Navajo rug seat 
  • Coffee table — Antique trolley cart
  • Side table — West Elm outdoor concrete side table
  • Sofa — Interior Define Every Girl in onyx velvet
  • Arm chair — CB2 tablon chair in snow
  • Stool — Antique
  • Led candle light — Gray sweat pants lighting candle stick
  • Rug — Pottery Barn indoor outdoor Andie rug
  • Art letters — Antique gas letters 
  • Wall woven art — Kristen Anne Fibers
  • Couch pillow — Grain sack antique 
  • Chair pillows — Rejuvenation in lux velvet tobacco
  • Chair pillow — Antique rug pillow 
  • Chair throw blanket — West Elm, Steven Alan collaboration alpaca 
  • Wood holder — Antique Willy Guhl planter
  • Curtains — West Elm white canvas
  • Mantel — Antique barn beam
  • Coffee table art — West Elm
Credit: Minette Hand


  • Table — Antique danish table
  • Chairs — Antique leather saddle chair 
  • End chair — Herman Miller fiber glass chair with lamb hide 
  • Cabinet — Family heritage pie safe antique
  • Curtains — West Elm, white canvas 
  • Rug — Anatolian hemp rug antique 
  • Bistro table — Antique marble French cafe table
  • Cafe chair — German antique oak chair
  • Lamp — Vintage post modern ceramic 
  • Lighting — Long Made Co., minimalist brass mobile light
  • Art — All antique gold framed
  • Art — West Elm frame, hand-written song from me as a child
  • Pillows — Bed linens black and white line 
  • Table bowl — Antique Willy Guhl planter 
  • Head planter — Round Top find concrete
  • Table linen — Antique, Scottish 
  • Planter on top of cabinet — Target, terracotta unknown
  • Quilts — Antique finds
  • Basket — Moroccan 
  • Ceramic bells — Thro Ceramics
  • Entry rugs — Mixed vintage rugs
  • Back door coat rack — Antique herb drying hangers
  • Back door picture — Antique flea market
  • Back door light — Long Made Co. Hugo minimalist flush
Credit: Minette Hand


  • Ceramics — All antique collected 
  • Toaster — Smeg toaster in cream
  • Counters — Hand-poured concrete 
  • Bracket House of Antique hardware — Black Farm brackets
  • Sink and Faucet — IKEA single farm sink with apron
  • Rugs — Antique Turkish 
  • Counter stools — Antique mid-century fiber glass
  • Lighting — Long Made Co., brass globe lights
  • Table lamp — Thro Ceramics
  • Burger block — Bowling alley floor 
  • Fridge — Painted hotpoint
  • Hallway rug — Antique Beni 
  • Hallway art — Ryan Buenning, Dolly Parton on Metal
  • Glass vessel — Antique battery container
  • Shelves — Hickory slabs
  • Sink light — Antique work bench light
  • Art — Unknown vintage paintings
Credit: Minette Hand


  • Bed head board — Antique Peruvian rug
  • Sconces — Pottery Barn, adjusting black arm sconce
  • Bed linens — Bed Threads, cream rough linen
  • Throw — Honey + Salt, Turkish stripe 
  • Desk — Antique Hungarian butcher table
  • Desk chair — Knoll
  • Above bed art — Joan Swanson, canvas locals only art
  • Above desk — Antique unknown nude
  • Cactus — Cactus Daddies
  • Side tables — Vintage Gio Ponti chairs
  • Throw pillows — Antique cactus silk pillow
  • Throw pillow — Antique grain sack pillow
  • Dresser — Vintage 1960s mcm dresser
  • Light — Target, buffet stick metal lamp
  • Mirror — Antique wicker mirror
  • Ceramic — Mom’s college 1970s art project 
  • Rug — Anthropologie, Georgie Moroccan Geo
  • Planters — Estate finds
  • Surf Board — Second-hand find
  • Curtains — West Elm, white canvas
Credit: Minette Hand


  • Bath tub — 1940s clawfoot painted 
  • Curtain — Target, waffle curtains
  • Rug — Antique Turkish runner
  • Stump — Robbie Hudspeth experimental stool
  • Counter — Handmade from barn wood
  • Towels — Target, hearth and home stripe 
  • Sink — Lowe’s, vessel sink 
  • Mirror — Lowe’s Blake frame mirror
  • Medical cabinet — Antique flea market find
  • Frames — Antique German 

Thanks, Sam!

This house tour’s responses were edited for length and clarity.